Local groups work to end period poverty in the Treasure Valley

Posted at 1:20 PM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 15:35:22-04

U by Kotex has donated 2 million products to the alliance for period supplies, and 2 local groups are making sure those products are getting into the hands of Idaho women who need them most.

While the mentions of tampons, pads, and other menstrual products are topics that people tend to shy away from, some Idahoans are working to change that.

For Boisean Macarah Heller-- founder of the Boise Period Project-- it all started with a Buzzfeed video she saw about period poverty with homeless women. "One of the women would make makeshift tampons with toilet paper in a public restroom. Another gal menstruates on paper bags or whatever they can find, and that just kind of resonated with me," Heller said.

And those women are not alone. In a recent study by Kotex, 1 in 4 women struggle to purchase menstrual products because they can’t afford them.

"Having access to menstrual hygiene products is a basic human right and it’s not a privilege," Heller said.

So she and her fiance Adam Wright started Boise Period Project, an organization designed to supply menstrual products for women in need. "Each pack comes fifteen tampons, 5 maxi pads, 3 liners, five cleansing wipes, and a travel hand sanitizer."

But in order to distribute at the levels they aspired to, they needed a hand.

"For the refugee community and low income community," Wright said, "we weren’t quite sure exactly how to get the products to them.”

That’s when the Idaho Diaper Bank (IDB) stepped in.

"About the same day almost, it was just fate— I saw the Boise Period Project on Facebook," said Kate Aravich, Executive Director of the IDB. "They had done some media, they had just begun and it really made me realize there’s another organization willing to dedicate time and effort to get this off the ground, and I would be able to supply them with the product that they needed.”

And she was right. The diaper bank received a 4-pallet shipment this July of feminine hygiene products from U by Kotex as part of its new partnership with the Boise Period Project and Alliance for Period Supplies.
"Since this partnership has formed, Kate has been a great help in showing us places that we can go to get these products in," Wright added. "More into the hands of people that aren’t homeless but also low income and the refugee community.”

Wish to help out? They tell us sanitizers, tampons, mini-pads, and cleansing wipes are on the top of their donation wish-list. To learn more, visit